Politicians eight years ago and most even four years ago rarely had to answer to anyone but television and newspaper reporters. Now these same politicians must sway millions of social media users with retweets and follows at their disposal.
At both the Republican (Tampa, Florida) and Democratic National Convention (Charlotte, NC), which is going on this week, the top social media platforms have been Twitter and Facebook. Both are hosting events and keeping tabs on who’s trending up or down (in social sentiment of course).
According to Adam Sharp, Twitter’s head of government, news and social innovation, “We’re measuring in real-time conversations that used to only take place at coffee shops and water coolers.”
One example is first lady Michelle Obama’s speech Tuesday night where she more than doubled the tweets per minute of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s address from August 30th.
The Republican convention had over 4 millions tweets during its three-day event. The Democratic convention saw 3 million in its first night alone.
Four Years Ago
Social media four years ago wasn’t widely used. On 2008’s Election Day, there were only 1.8 million tweets. That number of tweets now occurs every six minutes. Facebook back then was only popular with college students and not used widely in the political arenas.
“This year, there are more than 110,000 political Facebook pages in the United States and 11,000 pages for politicians,” said Andrew Noyes who is a manager of public policy and communication for Facebook.
In 2009, Facebook even created the page U.S. Politics. The About section reads: “The U.S. Politics Facebook page highlights the use of Facebook by politicians, elected officials, and political campaigns. The Page also shares tips and best practices as well as news from Facebook.” “This will be, without a doubt, the most socially connected election season ever,” said Joe Green, president and co-founder of NationBuilder.
His L.A.-based company organizes campaign’s online presence. “Democracy in its most basic form is really about mobilization of the masses, and that is what social media enables at the grassroots level.”
Now President Obama and Mitt Romney are dropping millions of dollars to place media on Facebook, Twitter, and advertising elsewhere online. Romney even went as far as becoming the first political campaign to purchase a “trending topic” on Twitter.
Obama, who was an early adopter of social media in his campaign, currently has 19 million people to spread his message via Twitter. This makes his account the 6th most popular in the world.
Back in 2008, his technology team was way ahead of the curve with social media. The Republicans have made up the ground and are using it just as effectively now.
Romney has more than 1 million Twitter followers. Romney had more than 2 million people posting about him on Facebook, sometimes this is more than Obama. Though Romney got more attention on Twitter from his wife’s speech than his own, according to Adam Sharp of Twitter.
Social Media Sentiment
Measuring the social media sentiment on Twitter and Facebook is a great way to measure attitudes of an audience. This has helped develop a daily Twitter Political Index, which analyzes 400 million tweets per day.
Twitter partnered with two polling firms and analytics company Topsy to validate their information. On the scale, 50 points or above is considered good within this system.
50 points is based on the number of total tweets about a candidate and would mean over 50% of them are positive. In a recent review, both candidates’ scores had been dropping.
This trend line of ups and downs in sentiment closely follows the Gallup poll approval ratings. We have even seen CNN partner with Facebook to track sentiment at ccn.com/fbinsights. It gives visitors the chance to view trends occurring in different states, age groups, and male versus female.
To learn more about using social media practices to monitor your business’s market, feel free to contact Eric Wagner Marketing.